Lakers—Jazz: Lakers Stumble in Utah Lose a Nail-Biter 88-86

Jeff Little@@JeffLittle32Senior Writer IApril 25, 2009

SALT LAKE CITY - APRIL 23:  Carlos Boozer #5 of the Utah Jazz shoots against Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Three of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at Energy Solutions Arena on April 23, 2009 in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2009 Getty Images (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

The Lakers stumbled in Game 3 of their best of seven series with the Jazz and lost a nail-biter 88-86.

It was an ugly game for both teams. It was just what the Jazz wanted. It was also exactly what the Lakers coaching staff had warned the players of and were attempting to avoid.

The Lakers were out-shot by the Jazz and spent the entire game marred in a shooting slump, except for Lamar Odom. It was a good thing he made the trip. He came off the bench and put up a double-double with 21 points and 14 rebounds.

Kobe Bryant wasn’t immune to the horrible shooting exhibited by the entire team; he came close to not scoring at all in the first half. He finished the game with 18 points on of 24 shooting.

The Lakers built a lead and were unable to maintain said lead, again.

Andrew Bynum playing in his seventh game back from injury and played a grand total of seven minutes, most of it in foul trouble. He wasn’t the only Laker dealing with foul trouble; it has been a problem in all three games of this series.

The Lakers have the size advantage and must move their feet as well as play defense without fouling.

The Lakers were killed in the rebounding category, 55-40. There is no excuse for being out-hustled and allowing Carlos Boozer to have a 23 point, 22 rebound night.

The worse thing about this game was that the Lakers shot an appalling 61.5% from the free throw line going 16-26, meaning if the Lakers were able to knock down their free throws we could call Game 3 a close game, but still refer to it as a Lakers win.

Give the Jazz credit for doing what they had to do to secure a win. The Lakers are now the team that needs to adjust to what Utah is doing. It is simply playoff basketball.

This isn’t the time to push the panic button or for the “I told you speech” and the coaching staff knows that.

It has been stated on more than one occasion that a loss is the best teacher. The questions I have in regards to the Los Angeles Lakers are will this loss help them play with a sense of urgency? Will it help them develop the necessary killer instinct to put teams away?

The Lakers stumbled and lost so far it is the only loss. Keep in mind that the win was there for the taking and the Lakers failed to capitalize. Game 3 will be remembered as a game that the team will look back upon as one that was there for the taking and they let it get away.

It was good to see the Jazz win a game at home that means we now have a series on our hands. The Lakers will make adjustments and play better in Game 4. Some of those adjustments might be Lamar Odom being put back in the starting lineup, double-teaming Deron Williams to get the ball out of his hands.

I would like to see the Lakers focus on boxing out more to be in better rebounding position. The entire team needs to step their game up, play mistake free with a sense of urgency and look to put the Jazz away.

Game 4 will be Saturday 6:00 pm PST. Kobe Bryant has yet to have a scoring explosion in the 2009 NBA Playoffs, this could be an occasion for the Black Mamba to go off and lead the Lakers to a victory.

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